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Iowa governor stands by decision to not issue statewide mask mandate

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowa Gov. Kim Kim Reynolds is facing some criticism for not issuing a statewide mask mandate.

In her weekly news conference Thursday, she said she trusts Iowans to do the right thing when it comes to doing their part in mitigating the spread of the virus.

"I think the goal is to do what we can to reduce the spread of the virus. I think the goal is that if you can't social distance, wear a mask," said Reynolds. "I believe that is the end goal, and that we can get there without a mask mandate."

The governor also said coronavirus data continues to show the state's positivity rate is being driven by adults ages 18 to 40. Which is why she ordered bars and clubs in six eastern Iowa counties to close back in late August. Several of the counties affected by the closure have major state universities.

Reynolds also addressed high school fall sports and how school officials should handle athletic events as the school year develops.

"If a school or district must temporarily move to remote learning due to public health conditions, then in-person extracurricular activities must be suspended during that time for the same reason to avoid the risk of virus spread both for the home teams' players, coaches and fans and for the visiting teams, as well," she said.

State epidemiologist, Dr. Caitlin Pedati, clarified how deaths are reported to the state. On Thursday, the state confirmed 20 additional deaths. Pedati said some deaths could be dated back to August.

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